NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. — James Gaddy, a prominent New Rochelle educator for several decades, the first African-American to serve as principal in the district, was found dead in his North Carolina home, along with his wife in a reported murder-suicide.
James and Josie Gaddy were found dead in their Pinehurst home Friday night. Investigators determined that James Gaddy, a former superintendent and principal in New Rochelle, shot his wife before turning the gun on himself, Pinehurst police said in a statement.
The former New Rochelle schools leader was also a longtime member of the board of trustees of Monroe College and worked with the Great Potential program at Purchase College. In September 2014 Monroe named a new student dormitory Gaddy Hall; he was on hand for the ribbon cutting.
“We are deeply saddened by the news and extend our most heartfelt sympathies to the Gaddy family,” Monroe College President Stephen Jerome said in a statement. “Dr. Gaddy was a long-time, valued friend to Monroe College, and he will always be remembered here for the distinguished educator he was and his unwavering commitment to students.”
Following a case investigation, police determined the incident to be a murder-suicide, with Gaddy as the sole suspect. There was no forced entry into the home and police stressed that there is no threat to the public’s safety.
According to a statement by Pinehurst Police, Josie Gaddy was shot four times in the back of the head, reportedly between 48 and 72 hours before he turned the gun on himself, infecting one gunshot wound to his chest.
A beloved figure in New Rochelle, he was the first African-American to serve as principal in the district. He spent 16 years as principal at the high school before taking over as superintendent in 1985, when he was named one of the top 100 educators in North America by the National School Boards Association.
The Gaddys moved to North Carolina after he stepped down from the New Rochelle superintendent’s post in 1991. He served as principal of New Rochelle High School from 1969 to 1985, when he became the district’s superintendent. He retired after 34 years in education, including 23 years in New Rochelle. The high school’s library is named in his honor.
The couple is survived by a daughter, April Gaddy-Chappel.